Rainforests And Earth Essay, Research Paper Science; Rainforests and EarthThe Tropical Rainforests of the WorldIn this term paper, I will explain the great importance of the tropicalRainforests around the world and discuss the effects of the tragedy ofrainforest destruction and the effect that it is having on the earth.
Rainforests And Earth Essay, Research Paper
Science; Rainforests and EarthThe Tropical Rainforests of the WorldIn this term paper, I will explain the great importance of the tropicalRainforests around the world and discuss the effects of the tragedy ofrainforest destruction and the effect that it is having on the earth. I willtalk about the efforts being made to help curb the rate of rainforestdestruction and the peoples of the rainforest, and I will explore a new topicin the fight to save the rainforest, habitat fragmentation. Another topic beingdiscussed is the many different types of rainforest species and theiruniqueness from the rest of the world. First, I will discuss the many species of rare and exotic animals, Native tothe Rainforest. Tropical Rainforests are home to many of the strangest lookingand most beautiful, largest and smallest, most dangerous and least frightening,loudest and quietest animals on earth. There are many types of animals thatmake their homes in the rainforest some of them include: jaguars, toucans,parrots, gorillas, and tarantulas. There are so many fascinating animals intropical rainforest that millions have not even identified yet. In fact, abouthalf of the world s species have not even been identified yet. But sadly, anaverage of 35 species of rainforest animals are becoming extinct every day. So many species of animals live in the rainforest than any other parts of theworld because rainforests are believed to be the oldest ecosystem on earth.Some forests in southeast Asia have been around for at least 100 million years,ever since the dinosaurs have roamed the earth. During the ice ages, the lastof which occurred about 10,000 years ago, the frozen areas of the North andSouth Poles spread over much of the earth, causing huge numbers of extinctions. But the giant freeze did not reach many tropical rainforests. Therefore, theseplants and animals could continue to evolve, developing into the most diverseand complex ecosystems on earth. The nearly perfect conditions for life also help contribute to the great numberof species. With temperatures constant at about 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit thewhole year, the animals don t have to worry about freezing during the coldwinters or finding hot shade in the summers. They rarely have to search forwater, as rain falls almost every day in tropical rainforests. Some rainforest species have populations that number in the millions. Otherspecies consist of only a few dozen individuals. Living in limited areas, mostof these species are found nowhere else on earth. For example, the mauesmarmoset, a species of monkey, wasn t discovered until recently. It s entiretiny population lives within a few square miles in the Amazon rainforest. Thisspecies of monkey is so small that it could fit into a persons hand!In a rainforest, it is difficult to see many things other than the millions ofinsects creeping and crawling around in every layer of the forest. Scientistsestimate that there are more than 50 million different species of invertebratesliving in rainforests. A biologist researching the rainforest found 50different of ants on a single tree in Peru! A few hours of poking around in arainforest would produce several insects unknown to science. The constant search for food , water, sunlight and space is a 24-hour pushingand shoving match. With this fierce competition, it is amazing that that somany species of animals can all live together. But this is actually the causeof the huge number of the different species. The main secret lies in the ability of many animals to adapt to eating aspecific plant or animal, which few other species are able to eat. An exampleof such adaptations would be the big beaks of the toucans and parrots. Theirbeaks give them a great advantage over other birds with smaller beaks. Thefruits and nuts from many trees have evolved with a tough shell to protect themfrom predators. In turn toucans and parrots developed large, strong beaks,which serves as a nutcracker and provides them with many tasty meals. Many animal species have developed relationships with each other that benefitboth species. Birds and mammal species love to eat the tasty fruits providedby trees. Even fish living in the Amazon River rely on the fruits dropped fromforest trees. In turn, the fruit trees depend upon these animals to eat theirfruit, which helps them to spread their seeds to far – off parts of the forest. In some cases both species are so dependent upon each other that if one becomesextinct, the other will as well. This nearly happened with trees that reliedon the now extinct dodo birds. They once roamed Mauritius, a tropical islandlocated in the Indian Ocean. They became extinct during the late 19th centurywhen humans overhunted them. The calvaria tree stopped sprouting seeds soonafter. Scientists finally concluded that, for the seeds of the calvaria treeto sprout, they needed to be digested by the dodo bird. By force feeding theseeds to a domestic turkey, who digested the seeds the same way as the dodobird, the trees were saved. Unfortunately, humans will not be able to saveeach species in this same way. Each species has evolved with its own set of unique adaptations, ways ofhelping them to survive. Every animal has the ability to protect itself frombeing someone s next meal. To prevent the extinction of a species each andevery species must develop a defense tactic. The following are just a few ofMother Nature s tricks. + CAMOFLAGEThe coloring of some animals acts as protection from their predators. Insectsplay some of the best hide-and-go-seek in the forest. The walking stick isone such insect; it blends in so well with the palm tree it calls its home thatno one would notice unless it s moved. Some butterflies, when they close theirwings, look exactly like leaves. Camouflage also works in reverse, helpingpredators, such as boa constrictors, sneak up on unsuspecting animals andsurprise them. + SLOW AS A SNAILThe tree-toed sloth is born with brown fur, but you would never know this bylooking at it. The green algae that makes its home in the sloths fur helps itto blend in with the tops of the trees, the canopy, where it makes it s home.But even green algae isn’t the only thing living in a sloth s fur; it isliterally bugged with a variety of insects. 978 beetles were once foundliving on one sloth. The sloth has other clever adaptations. Famous for its snail-like pace; it isone of the slowest moving animals on earth. It is so slow that it often takesup to a month to digest it s food. Although its tasty meat would make a goodmeal for jaguars and other predators, most do not notice the sloth as it hangsin the trees, high up in the canopy. + DEADLY CREATURESOther animals don t want to announce their presence to the whole forest. Armedwith dangerous poisons used in life threatening situations, their bright colorswarn predators to stay away. This enables them to survive everyday emergencysituations. The coral snake of the Amazon, with its brilliant red, yellow, and blackcoloring, is recognized as one of the most beautiful snakes in the world, butit is just as deadly as it is beautiful. The coral snake s deadly poison cankill in seconds. Other animals know to stay away from it. The poison arrow frog also stands out with its brightly colored skin. It’sskin produces some of the strongest natural poison in the world, whichindigenous people often use for hunting purposes. It’s poison is now beingtested for use in modern medicine. In a single raiforest habitat, several species of squirels can live togetherwithout harming one another. This bewilders many people, Louise Emmons found.Why can nine species of squirrels live together? Well, in a brief summary eachof the nine species is a different size; three have specialized diets orhabitats, which leaves six species that feed on nuts, fruits and insects, andso potentially compete for food. A closer look showed that three of the six, alarge, a medium, and a small one live in the forest canopy and never come tothe ground. The largest squirrel feeds mainly on very large, hard nuts, andthe smaller ones eat smaller fruits and nuts. The other three species, again alarge medium and small one live in the ground and eat fruits and nuts of thesame species as their canopy neighbors, but only after they fall to the ground. Tropical rainforests are bursting with life. Not only do millions of speciesof plants and animals live in rainforests, but many people also call therainforest their home. In fact, Indigenous, or native, people have lived inrainforests for thousands of years. In North and South America they weremistakenly named Indians by Christopher Columbus, who thought that he hadlanded in Indonesia, then called the East Indies. The native people of the rainforest live very different lives than us. In thissection, I will explain how very different our lives differ than from theindigenous people of the rainforest. Although many indigenous people live verymuch like we do, some still live as their ancestors did many years before them. These groups organize their daily lives differently than our culture.Everything they need to survive, from food to medicines to clothing, comes fromthe forest. + FOODBesides haunting, gathering wild fruits and nuts and fishing, Indigenous peoplealso plant small gardens for other sources of food, using a sustainable farmingmethod called shifting cultivating. First they clear a small area of land andburn it. Then they plant many types of plants, to be used for food andmedicines. After a few years, the soil has become too poor to allow for morecrops to grow and weeds to start to take over. So they then move to a nearbyuncleared area. This land is traditionally allowed to regrow 10-50 yearsbefore it is farmed again. Shifting cultivation is still practiced by those tribes who have access to alarge amount of land. However, with the growing number of non-Indigenousfarmers and the shrinking rainforest, other tribes, especially in Indonesia andAfrica, are now forced to remain in one area. The land becomes a wastelandafter a few years of overuse, and cannot be used for future agriculture. + EDUCATIONMost tribal children don t go to schools like ours. Instead, they learn aboutthe forest around them from their parents and other people in the tribe. Theyare taught how to survive in the forest. They learn how to hunt and fish, andwhich plants are useful as medicines or food. Some of these children know moreabout rainforests than scientists who have studied rainforests for many years. The group of societies known as Europeans includes such cultures such asSpanish and German. Similarly, the broad group, Indigenous peoples includesmany distinct culture groups, each with its own traditions. For instance,plantains (a type of banana) are a major food source for the Yanonami from theAmazon while the Penan of Borneo, Southeast Asia, depend on the sago palm (atype of palm tree) for food and other uses.All Indigenous people share their strong ties to the land. Because therainforest is so important for their culture, they want to take care of it.They want to live what is called a sustainable existence, meaning they use theland without doing harm to the plants and animals that also call the rainforesttheir home. As a wise Indigenous man once said, The earth is our historian,our educator, the provider of food, medicine, clothing and protection. She isthe mother of our races. (11)Indigenous peoples have been losing their lives and the land they live on eversince Europeans began colonizing 500 years ago. Most of them died from commonEuropean diseases which made Indigenous people very sick because they had neverhad these diseases before. A disease such as the flu could possibly kill anindigenous person because he/she has not been exposed to this disease before.Many Indigenous groups have also been killed by settlers wanting their land, orput to work as slaves to harvest the resources of the forest. Others wereconverts to Christianity by missionaries, who forced them to live likeEuropeans and give up their cultural traditions. Until about forty years ago, the lack of roads prevented most outsiders fromexploiting the rainforest. These roads, constructed for timber and oilcompanies, cattle ranchers and miners, have destroyed millions of acres eachyear. All of the practices force Indigenous people off their land. Because they donot officially own it, governments and other outsiders do not recognize theirrights to the land. They have no other choice but to move to different areas,sometimes even to the crowded cities. They often live in poverty because theyhave no skills useful for a city lifestyle and little knowledge about theculture. For example, they know more about gathering food from the forest thanbuying food from a store. It s like being forced to move to a differentcountry, where you knew nothing about the culture or language. Indigenous groups are beginning to fight for their land, most often throughpeaceful demonstrations. Such actions may cause them to be arrested or even tolose their lives, but they know that if they take no action, their land andculture could be lost forever. Kaypo Indians, for example, recently spoke tothe United States Congress to protest the building of dams in the Amazon, andwere arrested when they arrived back in Brazil, accused of being traitors totheir own country. In Malaysia, the Penean have arrested for blocking loggingroads. Many people living outside of rainforests went to help protect the Indigenouspeople s culture. They understand that Indigenous people have much to teach usabout rainforests. Since we (the US and other countries) have been workingwith the Indigenous People and other rainforest protection agencies, we havelearned many things about the forest, including it s ecology, medicinal plants,food and other products. It has also showed us how crucial it is for theIndigenous people of the rainforest to continue their daily and traditionalactivities because of their importance in the cycle if the rainforest. It hasshown us that they have the right to practice their own lifestyle, and liveupon the land where there ancestors have lived before them. (2)One such example of a invasion of the Ingenious people s privacy is a new socalled emergency called the Cofan Emergency. This dispute is about anIndigenous tribe called the Cofan. Historically, the Cofan occupied some halfa million acres of rainforest along the Aguarico River in the EcuadorianAmazon. Because their traditional territory has been significantly reducedthrough invasions by oil companies such as Texaco, the Cofan now live in fivesmall, discontinuous communities. However, they still utilize and protect aregion of about 250,000 acres, including two reserves in the Amazon. In addition to displacing the Cofan and other indigenous groups, oildevelopment, which began in this region over thirty years ago, has also causedserious environmental destruction. The deforestation of some two million acresof rainforest and contamination of the regions waterways has resulted in theloss of plant and animal diversity, and drastically affected the social andeconomic well-being of local Indigenous peoples. This devastation continues.Last year, ten new concessions were licensed to international oil companies inthe Ecuadorian Amazon, opening an additional five million acres of forest tooil development. One of these oil blocks, Block 11 awarded to the US-basedSanta Fe Energy, lies within Cofan territory and will directly affect at leastthree communities. In order to protect the remaining intact rainforest areas of their homeland andthe adjacent ecological reserves, the Cofan are seeking $5,000 to purchase anoutboard motor and a video camera, in order to coordinate between dispersecommunities and document the destruction caused by oil development. Cofanleaders plan to work with their communities and document the destruction causedby oil development. Also they planned to work with their communities toorganize against further environmental destruction by the oil companies. Thisgrant will also cover for legal costs to demarcate the Cofan community lands.In the next section of this term paper, I will be discussing a subject relatingto the rainforest called habitat fragmentation. Fragmentation of a habitat, by its very nature, reduces the total amount ofarea of the original habitat type. Two researchers, Ann Keller and JohnAnderson suggest that the absolute habitat loss of pristine habitat and thereduced density of resources associated with fragmentation potentially impactsthe biota (the plant and animal life of a region) more than any single factor.Habitat fragmentation affects the flora and fauna (plants and animals) of agiven ecosystem by replacing a naturally occurring ecosystem with ahuman-dominated landscape which may be inhospitable to a certain number of theoriginal species. However, in direct contrast to the ocean as a geographicbarrier, the human landscape matrix is typically accessible to plants and
animals, in that they are able to easily disperse across it, if not reside init. On the other hand, the human landscape may directly contribute to theextinction of species by slanting the ecosystem balance of species which arehighly adaptable to changing conditions. For example, the increased amount ofhuman-dominated landscape allows certain species to grow phenomenally, whichcan result in harm to species which rely exclusively on very scarce areas . Acommonly referred to example of this is a bird called the brown-headedcowbird. This bird is best characterized as a nest parasite because itbecause it replaces the eggs of another species with eggs of their own ,allowing the other species to incubate and raise their young. Their increasednumbers have had negative effects on the reproductive successfulness of manyforest-dwelling birds. In addition to titling the ecosystem balance in favor of species which arehighly adaptable, the loss of habitat associated with habitat fragmentation maysimply cause the other, less adaptable species rates to decline. A man namedJames Saunders documents one remarkable example of how changing large expansiveareas of the birds of the wheatbelt of western Australlia as a result offragmentation. He showed that 41% of the birds native to the region havedecreased in range or abundance since the 1900 s and indicated that almost allof these changes resulted directly from habitat fragmentation and the declinein abundance of native vegetation. Although some species have increased inabundance, he noted that many more species have been adversely affected thanhave benefited. Importantly, the species that typically increase in abundance or range whenhabit fragmentation occurs are those which are adapted for being adaptable. Inother words, their resource needs can be met by a variety of conditions, andthus often by human activities by reducing their competition with otherspecies. Because of this, these species which benefit by human activities arenot the ones we need to manage for and protect. Instead, we need to protectthose species which are adapted solely for survival in the rapidly disappearingunfragmented habitat. Besides physically changing a part of the original habitat, decreasing the sizeof the original habitat can reduce the biological diversity of an area inseveral ways. Reducing biodiversity of an area may occur if habitat fragmentsare smaller than the home range of the animal with the largest home range thatexisted within the intact ecosystem. Many birds have large home ranges becausethey require patchily distributed resources. For example, one breeding pairof ivory billed woodpeckers require five to six square miles of undisturbedcontiguous bottomland forest, and a single European goshawk requires twenty toforty-five miles for his home range. If a habitat fragment exists that is smaller than the minimum area required bya given species, individuals of that species will not likely be found withinthat habitat fragment. For example, the Louisiana waterthrush is rarely foundin small woodlots because they require open water within their home range, andmost small woodlots do not have year-round streams or ponds. If a speciesrequires two or more habitat types, they are often susceptible to localextinction due to habitat fragmentation, because often they are unable tofreely move between the different habitat types. The blue-grey gnathatchermoves from decidous woodland to chapparral (a warm area) during the breedingseason, and if one of the two habitat types can not be readily accesed, theyare very susceptable to local extinction.Loss of any species from a community may have secondary effects that revrberatethroughout the ecosystem. For example, loss of a top predator from an areabecause the fragment is too small can cause numbers of small omnivores toincrease, which in turn may cause excessive predation pressureon songbird eggsand hatchlings, ultimately resulting in reproductive sucess. Tropical communities are oftem more susceptable to loss of biological diversitythan temperate communuities, because tropical species typically are found inlower densities, are less widely distributed, and often have weaker dispersalcapabilities. Many tropical species have evolved in that they have changedtheir roles that they play in the rainforest. An example of this occurance isthe cassowary, an Austrailan rainforest frugivore, (or an animal that primarilyfeeds on fruit) is extremely susceptable to local extinction by habitatfragmentation because its habitat requirement of large coniguous rainforestareas is compounded by its unique plant-seed despersal evolvment. This large,flightless bird wanders nomadically in search of very large seeds, many ofwhich need to be digested before they will germanate. You lll rember thatearlier another example of this situation in which the dodo bird becameextinct. The dodo bird digested seeds of the calvaria tree. But when the dodobird became extinct due to overhunting by humans, the calvaria tree, which madethe seeds to be digested by the dodo bird to sprout it s plants started not tosprout seeds. In the Rainforests, their are many such instances like this.But unfortunately, many of them go unnoticed and thus, each day many of therainforest plants and animals go extinct. Besides being home to extinction-prone species, tropical communities are proneto destruction and fragmentation because of their physical location,overlapping with the geographical birders of the third world nations. Inthese nations, citizens often rely on the revenues raised from rainforesttimber or cattle raised on cleared land for survival. This constant pressureon rainforest communities leads to excessive habitat fragmentation. Smallisolated fragments result, leading to an altered ecosystem balance. On thetropical island of Java, where almost all of the original habitat remainingexists in reserves, a group of ecologists have assessed the status of all ofthe birds of prey found in the rainforest habitat. Nearly all the raptors wereextremely rare outside the reserves, as expected. They also found that thelarger the reserve was, the denser the birds populations were within thereserve. Interestingly, a scientist named Lovejoy (I couldn t find his first name) in1986 found a similar phenomena with Amazonian birds in the Biological Dynamicsof forest project (BDFF) in Brazil. The primary goal of the project is todiscover how rainforest communities respond after an intact ecosystem is splitinto different size fragments. They found a crowding effect, in which theabundance of birds in a forest fragment increased significantly directly afterdeforestation of the adjacent area. The increased number of birds wasattributed to the migration of birds from the newly clear-cut area to theforest fragment. This crowding effect decreased with increasing size of aforest fragment. Both tropical and temperate communities, however, are prone to the sameproblems of inbreeding and loss of genetic variability, which results fromisolating subpopulations of plants and animals from each other due to habitatfragmentation. If too large a distance exists between two fragments and aspecies are unable to disperse across the area in between, the population isessentially divided. Inbreeding may result if the subpopulation in a givenfragment is small. This has not been directly documented, but it is possible. Size of a fragment and the amount of edge are inextricably linked. Abruptedges often results form fragmenting and ecosystem, in contrast to the moregradual natural ecotones. Edge positively impacts many species of plants andanimals, but as mentioned previously, the species which benefit typically arethose which do not require human protection and management because they caneasily meet their resource need outside of the intact ecosystem. Thescientists from the BDFF project point out one exception. Tamarins andmarmosets, both species in need of protection , flourish in small tropicalrainforest reserves because of the luxurian growth of early successional plantspecies, and the lack of large predators which are unable to exist in thesmaller reserves. Certainly , a system of only small reserves would notsuffice to protect the genetic heritage of biological diversity in the tropicalrainforest, but a heterogeneous mosaic of large and small reserves may providethe best alternative. Although edge has typically been associated with an increase in speciesrichness, researchers are increasingly documenting how edge effects negativelyimpact the native plants and animals. The BDFF researchers pointed out thatalthough the number of species may be higher in edge that the adjacent interiorhabitat, species diversity is usually not. Diversity takes into account notonly raw number of species, but the relative abundance of the species present. Another potentially adverse effect of edge is that it inherently reduces thesize of the habitat interior because of the many physical changes which occurwhere and edge is compared to a human dominated area. Most documented cases ofedge effects are from forest edges, so I will focus on them. In addition tothe luxuriant growth of shade-intolerant vegetation at a forest edge inresponse to the increase in available light, a seed rain bombards the forestinterior, often from introduced exotics. The increased exposure to wind causesa higher rate of treefalls and tree mortality, and temperature and humidity arequite different at the edge than in the forest interior. These physicalchanges affect the plants and animals of the habitat. Lovejoy and others, inthe BDFF project in Brazil, found that the understory birds tend to avoidartificial edges. They found 38% fewer birds 10 meters from clearing than 50meters into the forest, and 60% fewer birds 10 meters from a clearing than 1 kminto undisturbed forest. An interesting item is that they did not find a lowerabundance of birds around natural edges, such as interior treefall gaps. Several authors that I have read have suggested that the abundance of birdsdecreases near an artificial edge due to decreased Nest success. Nest successnear edge decreased because of the increase in generalist predators and broodparasites. As mentioned earlier, populations of brown-headed cowbirds, a broodparasite, have increased tremendously as a direct result of human activity,these birds have a negative impact on the nesting success of forest songbirdsthat nest near the forest edge. Studies show that while vegetational changesmay extend from 300-600 meters into a fragment. This makes sense when oneconsiders that although generalist predators such as raccoons, cowbirds, andchipmunks may concentrate their activity near the edge, they certainly also canfrequent the forest interior, often to the damage of those species which relyexclusively on forest interior. To reduce how far edge effects penetrate into a natural habitat, a biologistBernard Harris, proposed a system of long-rotation islands, in which andold-growth center is surrounded by various age stands of timber. This systemprovides some edge for those species which benefit from it, while minimizingthe amount of edge between the old-growth center stand and the surroundingstands. Now, to the final section of this term paper, the role that environmentalistsplay and some of the reasons that they are trying to save it. Rainforests cover less that two percent of the Earth s surface, yet they arehome to some 40 to 50 percent of all life forms on our planet, as many as 30million species of plants, animals, and insects. The Rainforests are quitesimply, the richest, oldest, most productive, and most complex ecosystems onEarth. As biologist Norman Meyers notes, Rainforests are the finestcelebration of nature as ever known on the planet, and never before hasnature s greatest orchestration been so threatned. (4)His quote is quite true. The following facts listed are direct proof of howthe Tropical Rainforests are being depleted. Global Rates of Destruction2.4 acres per second: equivalent to two U.S. football fields149 acres per minute214,000 acres per day: an area larger than New York City78 million acres per year: an area larger than PolandIn Brazil5.4 million acres per year6-9 million indigenous people inhabited the Brazilian rainforest in 1500. In1992, less than 200,000Species ExtinctionDistinguished scientists estimate and average of 137 species of life forms aredriven into extinction every day or 50,000 each year. While you were reading the above statistics, approximately 90 acres ofrainforest were destroyed. Within the next hour approximately six species willbecome extinct. While extinction is a natural process, the alarming rate ofextinction today, comparable only to the extinction of the dinosaurs, isspecifically human-induced and unpreceeded. Experts agree that the number onecause of extinction is habitat destruction. Quite simply, when habitat isreduced, species disappear. In the Rainforests, logging, cattle ranching,mining, oil extraction, and hydroelectric dams all contribute to rainforestdestruction and produce many undesired effects in the environment such asglobal warming, depletion of the ozone layer, and depletion of the earth snatural resources. But now, there may be some help for the rainforest. Until recently, fewvacationers would even dream of visiting a rainforest. But travelers are nowabandoning the traditional beach vacation to visit remote, unspoiled areas allover the world. They try to avoid the fast pace and congestion of thetraditional tourist centers, opting instead for more adventure, stimulation anda desire to learn while on vacation. This growing trend of travel has come tobe known as ecotourism. Though there are many definitions of ecotourism, the term is most commonly usedto describe any recreation in natural surroundings. The Ecotourism Societyadds social responsibilities to define ecotourism as purposeful travel tonatural areas to understand the culture and natural history of the environment,taking care not to alter the integrity of the ecosystem, while producingeconomic opportunities that make the conservation of natural resourcesbeneficial to local people (5)However defined, ecotourism is a force shaping the use of the tropicalRainforests. This will be even more true in the future due to ecotourism srapid growth. Global tourism is one of the largest industry in the world andecotourism is the fastest growing segment of the industry. Tourism is largely responsible for saving the gorillas of Rwanda fromextinction. The gorilla was threatened by both poachers and local farmer,whose land clearing practices were destroying the gorillas natural habitat.Rwanda s Parc des Volcans, created by Dian Fossey as a wildlife preserve, hasbecome an international attraction and the third largest source of foreignexchange for Rwanda. Revenues from the $170-a-day fee that visitors will payto enter the park have allowed the government to create anti-poaching patrolsand employ local farmers as park guides and guards. Even this success isdanger from the civil war that is encroaching and endangering both the forestand tourist industry. If ecotourism is going to be influential in saving Rainforests, income fromtourism must reach the people who will ultimately decide the forest s future.Unfortunately, too often the money generated does not benefit these people.Instead, it goes to developed countries, where the tourists originated, givinglittle economic protection to the forests. Profits leak back to the developednations through tour operators, plane tickets, foreign owned accommodations anduse of non-local supplies. The World Bank estimates that worldwide only 45percent of tourism s revenue reaches the host country.In less developed areas, the percentage is often lower. One study of thepopular ecotourism destination of the Annapurna region of Nepal found that only10 cents of every dollar spent stayed on the local economy. Within thecountry, the money may end up in the large cities of in the hands of thewealthy elite. Tourist dollars should help to acquire and improve management of conservationareas on which the tourism is based, but money from tourism does not often endup with the agencies that manage these areas. In Costa Rica, the park servicedoes not earn enough money from its entrance fees to manage and protect itsnumerous parks. Only 25% of it s budget comes from fees; the other threequarters must come from donations. Tourists often resent paying large sums ofmoney on entrance fees. Although these fees are only a small portion of themoney spent on a trip they can be the most important dollars spent inprotecting the resource because they go directly toward protecting the site.The environmentalists and government officials play a vital part in theprotection of the Rainforests. Without them, all of the Rainforests wouldprobably be gone. (4) In conclusion, the Rainforests, the lungs of the earth will be gone in just afew years if the current rates of destruction continue. But luckily, there areenvironmentalists there to protect the rainforest and potentially protectingour lives. I say protecting our lives because in the past 100 years the earth stemperature has risen one degree Fahrenheit. This may sound small andinsignificant but it is very serious. Combined with global pollution fromcars, factories, etc. the depletion of the Rainforest has caused the level ofthe earth s air quality to lower, more arctic icebergs to melt causing waterlevels to rise around the world causing more erosion and nameless othereffects. If within 20 years, more is not being done estimates the rainforest actionnetwork, our earth will begin to change into a hot planet, flaming with CO2,with clouds made up of sulfuric acid, much like the planet Venus. (11) Thesefactors, in the advanced stage of Global Warming are what the earth is comingto if something is not being done soon about the destruction of the tropicalRainforests and various other types of pollution. The earth will become adeath trap for the human race unless we act now!
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